I have been observing for a while, the difference between the accomplishments of people (students and professors) from Harvard and MIT. Why do I make a comparison between this 2 Ivy Leagues only? Simply because I am currently in MIT and the fact that MIT and Harvard share somewhat similar ecosystem given their short distance from each other and students from MIT and Harvard like to cross-register so that they can learn from the best of both worlds. Some of the professors in MIT also came from Harvard (not the other way round though) and we are often taught from Harvard case studies.
When people ask me, who are the prominent great leaders or successful people that come from MIT? I couldn’t answer almost instantaneously. As opposed if the question was asked from Harvard instead. By prominent, I mean those that typically fall into the category of Top 100, Top 50, Top 10 awards by featured business magazines such as Forbes, Fortune etc. So does that mean Harvard is better than MIT?
I don’t think so.
I realized that Harvard produces notable leaders such as politicians, founders, CEOs, Wall Street decision makers and players, entrepreneurs (with Stanford as its main rival). To name a few – Barack Obama, George Bush, Franklin Roosevelt, Ben Bernanke, Steve Ballmer, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, George Doriot, and the list goes on.
However, MIT produces great researchers, theorist which involves mathematics, science and technology and finance. Because they are mainly researchers and theorist, they are not widely known. However, they set out the critical foundation that some are revolutionary. I suppose the name, Massachusetts Institute of Technology does reflect the accomplishments after all. For example, do you know that the application of “hash chain” that makes blockchain works, was coined by Leslie Lamport who was from MIT? In finance, we have Robert Merton who developed the Black Scholes theory which is now being widely used to price options. In operations, we have John Little, who came up with the famous Little’s Law formula.
I could go on, but that’s the theory I have right now, based on my observations. I suppose it is worth hunting them down and track further their differences and similarities among Harvard and MIT professors and students.